Along Came a Spider

“Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet*, eating her curds and whey.

 Along came a spider, who sat down beside her, and frightened Miss Muffet away.”

Thank you, Miss Muffet’s for validating those of us who are spider challenged. In theory, spiders are community servants in that they eat dreaded vermin such a flies and mosquitoes, but in the month of August, when most spiders are large enough to mate, they come out of hiding and engineer invisible sticky webs in unexpected places! I imagine the spider to be at once very annoyed and very amused to see the victim flailing around in fear that she is hitching a ride on their pant leg. My sister and I, on several occasions, awakened our mother from a sound sleep to come and kill spiders discovered on our way to bed, either in the bathroom or, God forbid, the bedroom. I wonder if there is any among us who has not lain awake, pondering the whereabouts of a spider that was surely awaiting our deep, even breathing before rappelling from the ceiling to crawl under the covers with us. My mom would say, “Poor little spider. He’s more afraid of you that you are of him.” Ummm…NO. Recently, my husband and I noted a spider residing above our bed in the ceiling fan. My plan was to get a broom and invite the little creature to hop on and be escorted to safety outside. Before I could make my move, my husband grabbed a flyswatter and sent those eight legs sailing spread eagle across the bedroom, landing with a “thunk”. Unable to locate it, we assumed it could not have survived. A couple of nights later, there it was again! This time, I was able to carry out my rescue mission with the broom. The spider, the size of a VW bug, clung to the broom as I marched valiantly out the door. Determined to make sure it never returned, I whacked the broom on the deck, instantly remorseful, yet relieved. This morning, as I sat on our deck for devotions, I noted a trio of spider webs in the corners of our and our neighbor’s decks. Instead of freaking out, I realized that maybe God had a message for me, so I looked up the significance of spiders in Native American lore. There are beautiful fables about spiders but allow me to simply mention the basic wisdom of the spider. I know these observations resonate with me and maybe, considering our era, they will with you. The next time you feel spiders might be taking over, recall this encouragement.

Patience: Hang in there. Wait patiently to reap the fruit of your labors. 

Receptivity: Be open to possibilities beyond your comfort zone.

Creativity: Keep on creating! Be tenacious and persistent on your path of growth and productivity.

Weaver of life’s fate: Notice where entanglements might be unhealthy.

Shadow self, dark aspects of life or personality: Realize that we all have our venomous side and take responsibility for yours. Be accountable.

 I don’t know that I will ever be able to invite a spider for a sleepover but stopping to consider what something out of my comfort zone might teach me has been a blessing. I say, “Live and let live.” But not in my bedroom!

*tuf·fet (Oxford Languages)

  1. a tuft or clump of something.
    “grass tuffets”
  1. a footstool or low seat